gms | German Medical Science

4th Research in Medical Education (RIME) Symposium 2015

19.03-21.03.2015, München

Overcoming barriers to anchor interprofessional education in health curricula

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Sarah Berger - University Hospital Heidelberg, Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Cornelia Mahler - University hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • author Jobst-Hendrik Schultz - University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

4th Research in Medical Education (RIME) Symposium 2015. München, 19.-21.03.2015. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2015. DocP44

doi: 10.3205/15rime51, urn:nbn:de:0183-15rime515

Veröffentlicht: 12. März 2015

© 2015 Berger et al.
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Introduction: Logistical and attitudinal barriers can hinder integration of interprofessional education (IPE) into curricula. The WHO’s Framework for Action on International Education & Collaborative Practice highlights the need to prepare students as a “collaborative practice-ready health workforce” [1] essential for maintaining quality health care and patient safety.

Method: A five-member development team (from medicine, nursing, psychotherapy, sociology) designed and piloted an interprofessional seminar introducing students to three competency fields: team work, communication and decision-making. Forty students took part from medicine, nursing, radiography, laboratory science, and orthoptics. Teaching teams were interprofessional (medical and nursing). The seminar was delivered four times over two weeks, with each seminar having ten participants. Content and format remained the same. Attendance was compulsory.

Results: Attitudinal barriers at institutional level were overcome once agreement was reached to start small with a pilot project, an acceptable middle way for both enthusiasts and initial resisters. Concerns about the didactic challenge of IPE for staff accustomed to teaching monoprofessionally were responded to pragmatically. The logistical challenge of bringing teaching staff together meant that only one face-to-face session occurred. Additional information was provided in electronic form. For this reason, highly experienced teachers were selected for the pilot. A further logistical challenge was timetabling the seminar across already densely packed curricula. One 3½ hour timeslot in a scheduled communication module of the undergraduate medical curriculum was identified as an adaptable target and timetabling took place around this.

Discussion: Complexities related to attitudinal and logistical barriers as well as existing curricula and resource constraints had to be managed with a pragmatic approach, but following the success of the pilot IPE initiative, four additional interprofessional seminars have been anchored in the undergraduate health curricula at Heidelberg Medical Faculty. Interprofessional planning and teaching teams were the key enabling factor.


World Health Organization. Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice. Geneva, Switzerland: Author; 2010.